Starting your project

While working on your project, you need to think ahead and consider the implication of your choices of file names and types, the software you use for measurements and analysis, and how you record your progress, decisions, and results. The follow topics focus on organising your data when starting your project.


As you start your project, you should think carefully about the naming conventions for your files, the formats that will be easily used now and in the future, and how you will monitor the versions of your codes, results and drafts. These tips will help you plan for the future of your research. Read more on filing.


Metadata describes your data, making it future-proof. There are standards for format types and for metadata and examples of the types of metadata that should be provided. It is possible to automate the generation of your metadata, which will help you and others understand your data. 


Your choice of software may affect your ability to analyse and reuse your data. Some software requires specific file formats as inputs and outputs. If your software is not long lived and stable, you may lose access to your data. The University of Hertfordshire has licenses for software for your University networked machine. 


All of the documents associated with your project can be developed and stored in the Document Management System (DMS). You should record instructions, protocols, procedures, results and changes to them, decisions, and who did what, when using what, in case it is needed as proof that it's your concept or during an audit.


When writing software, algorithms, and scripts, you should be mindful of future readers including your future-self. Commenting throughout your code, and using logical names for variables are some of the tools that you should employ when writing code. Read more about best practice coding.